CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Jim Justice’s change in party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.
“Shortly after I turned 18, I registered to vote as a Republican,” Speaker Armstead said. “Ronald Reagan was president. I knew I wanted to be a member of the party of Reagan – the party that believed in personal responsibility, limited government, peace through strength, a lower tax burden, and giving people an opportunity to succeed through hard work and determination without having to rely on the government.
“A party that saw the best in the individual and knew that, given the opportunity to succeed, and freed from government burdens, West Virginians could and would succeed. A party that believed in the sanctity of life, the freedom to worship and the strong conservative values that helped to build our nation.
“I chose to be a Republican because the CORE PRINCIPLES of the Republican Party were and remain the principles that were best for West Virginia and America.
“Today, Governor Jim Justice will change his registration to Republican,” Speaker Armstead said. “As he does so, it is my sincere hope that this change is not only a change on paper, but a change in direction and in the Governor's core principles.
“During his first six months in office, and in his dealings with the Legislature before he was governor, Governor Justice simply has not advanced the core conservative Republican principles that the majority of West Virginians share. He has advanced proposals that increase the role of government, that seek to solve problems not by removing the roadblocks and burdens of government but by making West Virginians more reliant and dependent on government.
“He has sought to increase taxes and grow the size of government. He proposed the greatest tax increase in our state's history to fund the largest budget in our history.
“If Governor Justice truly embraces the core conservative principles that the Republicans in the House have been fighting for, I stand ready to work with him to make those goals a reality,” Speaker Armstead said. “If he continues to advance the tired and outdated Democrat policies our state has rejected, I and many members of the House will stand against those regardless of his party affiliation.
“It is not a matter of party affiliation or partisan politics. It is a matter of what is right for the future of West Virginia. Eighty years of growing government hasn't worked. It won't work now.
“I invite Governor Justice to abandon not only the registration of a party, but to abandon the worn-out policies of that party that have held West Virginia back for decades,” Speaker Armstead said. “If he does, we truly can work together to write an exciting new chapter in the history of our state.”